by Eleonora Frattarolo
Architectures are stubborn worlds, with their own enclosing skies, ceilings and foundations, performing an enclosing action to the work of wild nature and the time of seasons. There was a time when men used to sanctify this enclosed space and to believe that founding a building was an act of faith with a religious and eternal character.
Nowadays that religions have become empty chrysalid s and that the holy and the rite of building are maybe only a memory, the truth of Heidegger’s dictate remains: inhabiting is the way in which mortals are on earth. Daniela Gullotta has always been representing architecture, apparently neglected by those who lived or made it.
The painter covers with powerful meaning, very old organisms immersed in whirling temporal Maelstrom: cemeterial sanctuaries, old buildings symbol of western society, plants, sheds with a recent manufacturing history not even so “proto”, shaped to become shining funnels, dense with heavy and thinking matter, rich in an almost marine light, the light of world’s dawn.
They are temporally deep, cognitive exterior and interior images, simply connoting symbolically an articulated and sensitive paradigm of power of human intelligence, a survey of its qualities, managed and honored by the deterioration, by the test of their being “past”. ln the middle, the chaos between generating and unfaithful waters, muddy or drained, dispersing sometimes in a fog of miasmas and vaporize in dense and volatile atmospheres, filled with the spell of cancellation, in which the wind of the souls that lived frees the spaces from the presence of fervour, from emotion s and from the high or silent sounds of the voices.
Only projections of externals, perspective points of lonely interiors, though rich in invisible hard-working presences, in views manifesting the immanence of the spirit and the intellectual, manual and highly imaginative care they had of the world, of their world, the human beings of other epochs, as ancient Manes, founding heroes, who in the laconic and wrecked model of what had been, are proudly left with an identification beyond the alterity of death and reveal the truth of a message and a modus vivendi still fertile and capable of transmitting.
lt is may be because of this mixture of time and matter, of absence and actions that the representations by Daniela Gullotta are paradoxically redfying, they are scenographies of chances of the future, warnings, as they are dialogue with the past, in the presence of contraction and dilation together, of closure and abyss, where the foundations emerge, exposed: they can’t ruin like the walls emerging out of them and appearing dull, but also available to the meticulous, engineering, possibilist inquiry.
A collapse and a chaos which are a portrait of us as human species through its more evident and permanent products, the architectures, which differentiate and translate the rolling by of the time in a way that even bones and handiworks can’t. Moreover, in an age like ours, where rubbish and recycle have not yet given birth to a new, virgin, lively way of living, based on a chemistry of radical decomposition of the artificial in its primary elements, in the atoms and the original molecules of the substances that we are aggregating and manipulating since the birth of industry and that we can hardly break into pieces, smash and repropose in moulds for alternatives and “ecological” usages, the works of the artist seem to indicate this too: organisms and materials of the disintegration melt organically into an historical composting, expressing the capability of us which the earth has and that doesn’t dispossess us.
lt is, if anything, the more important viaticum for our rebirth, in the succession of related civilizations all emerged from the womb of our planet. In a book on the “dominion of the dead’ Pogue Harrison underlines the etymon and says that humanity is such, because it can be buried as humus, and as such is fertile. lt is in this extraordinary capability of self-fecundation deriving from the past, in this possibility of self-generating cultural memory coming from the deep of the soul, that lays as a jewel case the secret of the ephemeral and precious human existence, able to provoke the envy of immortal gods, because of the irreplaceable value of the creative moment compelling and latent, which signs and makes of this existence a work of art.
As for Gullotta’s musical education, her piano studies still effectively produce en harmonic echoes, pictorially reformulated in the genealogic trees of her archaeologies. Two sounds of different notation but with the same pitch, correspond like a C- sharp and a D-flat and identify as chronologically staggered images, which express the same meaning, the same ontology.
A Roman arena rotating, or apparently rotating, in a turmoil of self-cancellation and disappearance, abandoning time and dimension, a shed assembled in a parallelepiped narrow and long as a perspective blade which penetrates into the bowels of the manufacturing history, both turn into the hypostasis of the essence of things, which stay unchanged within its own becoming, and corresponds and sounds with an enarmonic unison, that of the sense itself of its own handing on within the time.
An hypòstasis which in its disappearing and resurfacing could also be translated, from another angle, as a claim of the soil which cleans itself up from the human handiworks and gets purified, consecrating its own fertility as a matrix. On this subject, directly inherent to the foundations, a famous essay of cultural anthropology by Anita Seppilli, Sacralità dell’acqua e Sacrilegio dei ponti, she underlines in archaic cultures the redeeming centrality of the foundation rites, celebrating the union of the basis of constructions immersed or subsided, with the two cosmic elements of water and earth. Since the origins of the villages in the Bronze age, these sacrifices would be an apotropaic warrantee against the magmatic rumbling in the fire bowels, against the adversity of Hades’ souls, against floodings and submarine earthquakes and everything that could show Gaia’s irritation for the interference and arrogance of men.
These were fundamental rites against the sacrilege of the ruin of the soil which revives and swallows up, where what is embedded gets inflicted without amending the sin of transgression. A foundation is a closed wound, cut and suture, edge and continuity at the same time in the tissue and space of the soil or the institutions where it appears, a temporal compromise between dead cells (in this case the ones deteriorated by the ruins or by what is subject to ageing and need to be kept in substitutive maintenance) and the new cells of the materials of this replacement, or in this case of the ruins, of the soil that takes its place.
Gullotta’s look is a well aware renounce to study the canonical landscape, even though since long, a new “ruinism” has spread out. Born out of the pictorial, scenographic and carving tradition, it gets ashore in movies like Escape from New York or Blade Runner; bouncing in a short circuit literature-cinema-comics, it gets activated in our days, variously declined in the work of photographers like Fabiano Parisi or painters with a large and magnificent gesture as Valery Koshlyakov.
ln Parisi’s images, for example, the buildings are like the bodies of human beings, the bodies of the beings which built them, which breaking up, crumbling, maintain a general rigour a dry essentiality, typical of the old age, speaking of time, will, ends, subject to the hazard of fate, to the gnawing of doubts and to contradictions, recompositions and adjustments.
But, dwelling upon the taste and the practice of Daniela Gullotta, trained in her youth by the magnificent technique and the high poetics of Maurizio Bottarelli, from the scenographic absoluteness of Anselm Kiefer, the poetic preciousness of Klimt and of a Vienna which is familiar and dear to her like ltaly is, I want to remember the graceful and precious network that in her paintings is made of golden circles, shining post-cubist geometries, coloured and melted clots, small additions of sand and cupper… graphemes, important decorations, dancing to the rythm of pure painting in a place elsewhere than the place represented, which ruins exhausted, but also, thank to them, rich and luxurious.
The Fabbrica or the Laminotoio by ex Falck group is exemplary for this resolution and this ability. ln the intersections of horizontal signs, albuminous and blurred like marine phosphenes, sometimes x-crossed, neo-cubist cuts hide, crossed by laser stripes, reminding the views of a town in the night urban traffic of ancient photos the Fabbrica really looks like a real city inundated at dawn by the tracers of the exhaust gases, with not very big (sometimes really small) light circles, visually sustaining the optical tracers signaling the ceilings and escaping towards the full bright day of the far background.
ln these images, the painter challenges the space keeping it in tension, without letting it be swallowed up by the perspective points, and she does that, interrogating the time too, its cutting and well-ordered splitting, reflected into assembly lines, where usage and abandonment become more touching because they are industrial, recent, expression of a power of collective, super human production multiplied by machines.
This artist touches us with her painting in paradoxical ways, because she longs for a rational and not emotional answer to the confusion of cancellation and looks for a different perspective, which is possible among the ones already inspected and fulfilled: maybe because between the ideation and the rational selection operated by the creative gesture there is an interval of moral and spiritual nature, which gives her that optimism of proposing, that necessity of being, called intelligence.